Horizon School Division, 12 others, to sign violent threat protocol

EAST CENTRAL — A new protocol to be signed between the Horizon School Division and 11 other partners will provide a consistent approach when dealing with violent threats in schools.

The new Violence Threat Risk Assessment protocol will be signed at a ceremony on Jan. 23. The division said the ceremony is the culmination of around five years of work and relationship building.

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Kevin Garinger, the division's director of education, said the protocol ensure that everybody knows how to respond when there’s a violent threat at a school.

“They're going to respond in the same way. They’re going to follow what is outlined by the violence threat risk assessment protocol,” he said. “That's critical for us to ensure that student safety and staff safety is sustained.”

The protocol is developed by the North America Centre for Threat Assessment and Trauma Response. Most principals in the division have received the second level of training from the centre.

“We are going to have the ability through this protocol to be able to train our own [trainers],” Garinger said.

The agencies at the signing will be the Saskatchewan RCMP, the Saskatchewan Health Authority, Saskatchewan Association of Fire Chiefs, Partners Family Services, Humboldt Regional Newcomer Centre, Safe Communities Humboldt and Area, Humboldt and District Ambulance Services, Saskatoon Tribal Council, Touchwood Agency Tribal Council and three provincial government ministries.

Garinger said before this signing, the division had to hope that any RCMP detachments responding to a threat at a school were familiar with Violence Threat Risk Assessment.

“The behaviors were starting and very much in place, for the most part. There just simply wasn't a protocol,” he said. “Now that everyone is behaving in that way, now we're able to sign off on it and say that this is how we'll move forward.”

This is the first time the division has had such a protocol signed with other community agencies.

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